There’s a problem with this idea:
Johnson’s government has a point to make: that the Tory party of 2020 is at the service of the aspirant masses, that it will help restore hope across the “blue wall” constituencies, that it is ambitious for Britain after Brexit. To make this point forcefully, this budget needs ideas that aren’t inherited (like HS2), or by-the-book (like thousands more police officers), but original, clear and in line with the government’s agenda.
Here is one: the opportunity grant. A serious amount of money, perhaps £5,000, available to every single adult in this country over the age of 24 who wishes to retrain, reskill and reimagine where they are going. To the person sitting at the supermarket checkout, bored out of their mind, who would love to do a City & Guilds course in a trade, but can’t afford it, this would say: “Dare to dream!” To the fiftysomething whose role has been replaced by robots, this would say: “Take heart, try something new!” To the mother who has been out of work for years, who would like to code or learn carpentry or cook professionally, this would say: “Seize the day!”
The problem being that it’s not a new idea. We had something like this, lifetime learning accounts was it? And what happened was that every spiv in the country set up a training school to harvest the grants.
Let’s at least try to make new mistakes, shall we?